September 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

macon 1

Fifty-four-year-old Macon Dunnagan recently descended from the top of Mt Kilimanjaro for the 35th time, a remarkable feat, after leading a group of nine Rotarians from different Rotary Clubs in the US for an expedition aimed at raising funds to end polio worldwide.

A Goodwill Ambassador for the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) in 2013, Dunnagan said: “In this year’s expedition we expect to raise $300,000 that will go directly to the Rotary International End Polio Now project.

After the Mt Kilimanjaro charity expedition, dubbed ‘Mt Kilimanjaro 2014 Climb to end Polio Now,’ Dunnagan commented:  “Tough, it’s my 35th time to scale Mt Kilimanjaro to the top; I’m now feeling very glad as I managed to lead the group for the cause.”

Speaking with The Guardian on Sunday in an exclusive interview at Marangu Gate, this week Dunnagan, a native of North Carolina, said they started their 2014 charity climb through Rongai route led by Edwin Kilawe and fellow professional guides from ZARA Tanzania Adventures.

In 2012, climbers raised over $106,000 for the same cause whereby 100 per cent of the contributions go to the Rotary International End Polio Now project.

A Tanzania Tourist Board official who was among those receiving the expedition Augustina Makoye said Dunnagan continues to prove that age is not a factor, as he climbs to the “Roof of Africa,” the world’s tallest freestanding mountain at 19,341 feet above sea level.

Asked why he climbs the same mountain over and over again, Dunnagan replied cheerfully: “I enjoy taking other people up the Kilimanjaro and giving them an appreciation for the mountain, what it is, the environment and the people of Tanzania.”

At 54, he serves as an inspiration for others as he still has climbs scheduled through 2017, already holding the Kilimanjaro National Park Record for climbing the most summits in one month.

Recently, he broke a record for making the most Kilimanjaro summits in one month when he climbed four times in 28 days.

Dunnagan made his first ascent in February 1999 with little mountain climbing experience and is yet to look back. He has since become a Kilimanjaro specialist and expedition director for Zara Tanzania Adventures, a Tanzanian tour company based in Moshi.

In 2013, the Tanzania Tourist Board named him Goodwill Ambassador of Tourism for Tanzania.

Two years later, in 2005, his wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and succumbed to the disease in August, 2007. He has since dedicated a number of his climbs to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research and treatment by partnering with Ovarian Cancer Canada’s “Expedition of Hope.”

Dunnagan is also an author. Sons of Kilimanjaro is his debut novel that details the summit of four men up Mt Kilimanjaro, the individual reasons they have for climbing it and the lessons they learned along the way.

Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa that is focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 28 percent of the land protected by the government, the largest percentage of any country in the world.

The Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Chief Park Warden, Erastus Lufungulo praised Dunnagan’s role in promoting Tanzania’s tourism sector worldwide, particularly in the US.

“This man is really a goodwill tourism ambassador of Tanzania in the US”.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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